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The Hard Part Begins

Year: 1973
Language: English
Format: 16mm Colour
Runtime: 91 min
Director: Paul Lynch
Producer: Derett Lee, John Hunter
Writer: John Hunter
Cinematographer: Robert Saad
Editor: William Gray
Sound: Billy Nobles
Cast: Doug McGrath, Paul Bradley, Donnelly Rhodes, Les Carlson, Robert Hawkins, Linda Sorensen, Nancy Fuller
Production Company: Odyssey Films, Auric Films

Forty-year-old singer Jim King (Donnelly Rhodes) heads the struggling country and western band King and Country, which also includes his girlfriend Jenny (Nancy Belle Fuller). Though King dreams of Nashville, his band is stuck playing the small-town circuit in southern Ontario, performing week-long stints in bars.

When the band arrives for a gig in King's hometown, King receives news that a large recording company wants to talk to him. But in that same disastrous week, King visits with his bitter ex�€'wife and a troubled son, watches an old friend die, gets dumped by Jenny and is beaten up in a brawl. To top it all off, he learns that the recording company is interested in Jenny – not him. King resolves to accept his life as it is, keep playing music and continue to move forward as best he can.

Recognized as one of the best films of the early seventies, Paul Lynch's first feature perfectly captures the dreariness of life as a third-rate travelling performer. The Hard Part Begins’s Jim King is akin to Will Cole in Peter Carter’s The Rowdyman, Rick Dillon in Peter Pearson’s Pa­perback Heroand other quintessential losers of English-Canadian cinema – who may be better understood as dreamers who hold onto unrealistic dreams. Rhodes gives a stellar performance, Lynch’s direction is solid, and Hun­ter’s script is particularly evocative of small-town life.